TONY LA RUSSA: After that line drive, we got more than we expected. I mean, that ball hit him flush. Barry was saying that it was muscle and not joint, so it was going to be sore but he should be able to pitch. He would keep us abreast. That was more than we thought.
Did you ever think any time to take him out?
LA RUSSA: We kept talking to him, watching the way he was throwing. He threw the same as he did before he got hit, so we just talked to him, watched him and in that one inning, got him out.
How did you keep him loose the whole time? Were you afraid at all that he would tighten up or that arm was -- that something would go wrong there?
LA RUSSA: The way I saw it get hit, I would have thought, you know, maybe a couple outs, maybe another inning or two. I didn't expect him to get into the seventh, but he would get off in between innings and he would get -- I'm not sure what they were doing, whether it was hot or cold. They were treating him, and we watched him through. He wasn't altering anything. He was throwing good stuff.
Tony, the Padres felt good about their last series today. How important was it for Mark to put up zeroes early?
LA RUSSA: Well, as you can see, we had a lot of respect for Pedro Astacio, so we thought the way the game had to be played was for Mark to really hold them down. I mean, we got some runs. We didn't really do very much, didn't string hits together, so I think the first key to the game was Mark and then, you know, you get a guy on base and turn a double play.
Tony, David seemed to think that after Mark got hit, it actually seemed to calm him down just a bit and his ball was sinking a little better. Was that your observation also?
LA RUSSA: He's playing behind him. He's got a better view than I do. I mean, if he says it, as smart as he is and honest, I don't think there's a BS bone in his body, so I think that's probably -- he had a better sinker. That's a difficult way to improve your sinker, though. It's not -- he needs to try to work on his mechanics next time.
Tony, some baseball people theorize as steroids go out of the game, small ball will come back. Do you think that there's going to be a renaissance, and do you think the way your team played today is kind of an example to be followed?
LA RUSSA: Well, I don't -- I don't think there was a whole lot different today versus other years. We have always been taught to play the scoreboard. We play the scoreboard. Only thing is that sometimes, you know, if David is at the plate, you might think about a squeeze. If Reggie's at the plate, you're going to let him swing, but you know, we try to have a bunch of weapons. We try to play the scoreboard, and that's been true, you know. I was taught about it a long time ago, and it was true before I heard about it, and it's going to be true, so I think there's always a place where runs are hard to come by. You're facing quality pitching and you're going to have to do something to create an opportunity.
Tony, your game on Saturday night on the West Coast is 10:00 St. Louis time. Do you think that's a disservice to the fans here in St. Louis to have it so late?
LA RUSSA: No. Our fans are here at 12:00 on a weekday, right? They're going to be there if they would play at midnight, 1:00. They're going to watch it. I mean, Sunday's a day off, so my biggest concern is that gives Friday night, the off-day in the Gaslight District. I may have to have curfew. I'm going to see how many wives are on that plane so we get some rest.
Tony, three double plays in Game 1, four today. How important have those been in getting to where you're at so far?
LA RUSSA: It's part of what I said earlier in Spring Training. I really liked what I was seeing in the middle in the field, because you watch the drills. I mean, Dave gets to the ball, he feeds it quick. Mark's real quick releasing it, a strong arm and vice versa, and they both have no fear, so it's the way we played all year long. I mean, the total was there, and you know, our pitchers are not afraid to pitch to contact and hopefully get a ground ball.
Tony, Randy Flores getting that last out, key out late in the ballgame. He's really come on late, hasn't he?
LA RUSSA: It's an important role. He had some issues coming into this thing, and we had to get them resolved in our favor. You know, Mark Sweeney is one of the best pinch-hitters in the game. That's a tough out. I just watched the replay of the strikeout pitch. That situation will come up a lot. Our condolences to Ray. Ray's father passed away today so we weren't going to use him, but both those guys we're going to need, and that was a big out just like Tavarez, you know, getting Klesko out. That's a three-run homer waiting. He looked solid all the way through.
Tony, it's not obvious that you're relaxed more, going to their place?
LA RUSSA: We're not real fond of relaxing and being comfortable. I heard David's comment about home-field advantage, you know. We're going to their ballpark. Their fans are not pulling for the Cardinals, they're pulling for the Padres. We expect very difficult competition, and one of the things I like the best about our team, they're very solid between the ears. There's nobody will take anything for granted and celebrating. Woody Williams; we know all about Woody. He's going to be out there battling with everything he's got, so you've got to win three to get to the next level, and we know the Padres and their ballpark expect a real tough ballgame.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.